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Indian, Afghan Leaders Discuss Security and Terrorism in New Delhi

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Anjana Pasricha

India has pledged to continue its involvement in the reconstruction of Afghanistan during a visit by Afghan leader Hamid Karzai to New Delhi. The leaders of the two countries also discussed efforts to tackle terrorism, which threatens stability in the South Asian region.



After holding talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Afghan president had promised all possible measures for the security of Indians working in Afghanistan.

New Delhi has been concerned about several terror attacks that have targeted Indians in Afghanistan.  In February, a militant attack on a Kabul guest house killed six Indians.

But the Indian leader indicated New Delhi will not waver in its commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"I conveyed to President Karzai that the perpetrators of such attacks will not succeed in undermining India's commitment to assist the Afghan people," Mr. Singh said.

Hundreds of Indians are working in development projects in Afghanistan, including construction of highways, hospitals, dams and schools.

The Afghan president discussed efforts to reach out to the Taliban for a negotiated settlement of the nine-year conflict in the country.

Mr. Karzai referred to a peace conference or "peace jirga", in which tribal and ethnic leaders will meet with the government next month in Afghanistan.   

"We discussed the upcoming Afghanistan 'peace jirga,' which will comprise all the people of Afghanistan from all walks of life to advise the Afghan government on how to move forward toward reintegration and reconciling of those elements of the Taliban and others who have accepted the Afghan constitution, who are not part of al-Qaida, who will not be part of any terrorist network," he said.

Mr. Karzai met Indian leaders while on his way to Bhutan, where a two-day summit of leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation starts Wednesday.

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